The Beatle Beat, Featuring the Blue Beats. That's what it says on the front jacket. So what does it say on the back jacket? "How to Do the Twist" (Reprinted from The Fred Astaire Dance Book). How to do the Twist? So, uh... to do the Beatle Beat, one must first master the Twist? Wouldn't a "Beatles Beat" tutorial have made more sense? This is a level of front jacket/rear jacket disagreement that rivals anything from Synthetic Plastics Co. or Halo, Allegro/Royale, and Ultraphonic. So, what exactly do we have here? A discotheque collection repurposed at the last minute to siphon some of the Beatles cashflow? That seems like the closest thing to a logical explanation. But couldn't they have come up with a more creative fake-Beatles name than "The Blue Beats"? That sounds like a quartet of depressed poets listening to Miles Davis albums when they aren't accompanying Slop and Mashed Potato contests.
Nothing, however, can compete with the hideous cover art, which has a group of kids dancing (Twisting, Frugging, Hully Gullying?) under a massive Beatles wig. Doesn't it look like the wig is consuming them? Maybe that's a bit of social commentary. At any rate, the dancers seem to be leaning into the giant wig, as if caught by surprise while doing the Rock-a-cha-cha, and this huge prop has just landed on them.
One look at that cover had me remembering the carpet monster from outer space in the Z-movie classic The Creeping Terror (1964--same year!). Specifically, the scene where the monster invades a dance hall and struggles its way through a cluster of tables and chairs while the patrons stand by a back exit, making no attempt to get away. Heck, as slow as the thing was moving, they could have walked past it and gone out the front:
Here's the Creeping Terror dance hall scene on YouTube, taken from a terrible print. Which is apt, since the sequence features what is possibly the worst editing job in film history.
Now, A.A. Records (which gave us Golden Record and Wonderland Records) wasn't the cheapest of the cheap, by any means. It issued collectible stuff like At Home with the Munsters (featuring the TV cast), Roger and Over with Roger Price, the Famous Monsters of Filmland classic Famous Monsters Speak! and Huckleberry Hound for President (apparently authorized by Hanna-Barbara) Yet, here it's giving us a Beatles knock-off that's less of an actual knock-off than even the Palace label's Beattle Mash. How to explain? Maybe the easiest option is to simply accept.
The music is fun, if monotonous, and well recorded and played. So, it's discotheque rock and roll, all right, and every dance from the Slop to the Frug to the Rock-a-Cha-Cha (Rock-a-Cha-Cha??) to the Mashed Potato is represented, so everything about this album rings true--except for the "Beatle" part.
The titles are confusing as heck, since they're all followed by the name of the dance they go with. Which would be fine, except that, in a number of cases, the dance names are part of the title and not just an addendum--for instance The Blue Beats' Ska. Or Jack's Chickenback. On the mp3 tags, I used dashes in front of the dance types, because I have no means of italicizing any part of the tags. This resulted in some strange names, like One-Two--Hully Gully. I guess there's no way to make this LP make any sense. So, enjoy!
DOWNLOAD--The Beatle Beat--The Blue Beats (A.A. Records AA-133; 1964)